Great Winter Getaway Ideas: Central New York
The Baseball Hall of Fame, Howe Caverns, frosty fun and cozy country inns!
Winter is wonderful in New York's heartland! Frosted hills and picturesque farmland hold geological wonders and unique attractions showcase America's rich heritage. Beautiful state parks and ski centers offer outdoor fun, from ice-fishing to skiing, snowtubing and snowmobiling on boundless trails with abundant snow. Country roads lead to friendly towns and charming villages, with historic inns, hidden gems and famous attractions like the Baseball Hall of Fame and Howe Caverns.
This route begins "powerfully" in North Blenheim and then meanders northwest to a legendary finish at the world-class Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota.
A. North Blenheim
Start at the Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center, in a dairy barn on the 1819 Lansing Manor estate. Fun interactive exhibits show how electricity is generated. Outside, there's cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the Bluebird Trail between the Visitors Center and nearby Mine Kill State Park. Seasonal events include the annual Festival of Trees, December 1 to 31.
In the scenic Schoharie Valley, Mine Kill State Park's viewing platforms reveal the picturesque falls that cascade 80 feet through a narrow gorge. In winter, hiking paths become snowshoe and cross-country ski trails. There are also miles of trails for snowmobiling.
B. Howes Cave
Follow your Howe Caverns tour guide to a prehistoric underworld 156 feet below the earth's surface, winding through caverns with magnificent stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone. Whatever the temperature above, the cave is a constant 52 degrees F. There's a new Cave House Museum of Mining & Geology and winter packages that include a stay in the new hotel with spectacular views.
The new Howe Caverns Mining Company lets you pan for sparkling gems, minerals, fossils and arrowheads with their indoor and outdoor water sluices. Kids love the jewelry-making activity. Take home all the treasures you find!
The Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad runs a Christmas Lights Train, Santa Express, and Cooperstown Christmas Special on selected November and December weekends. As the decorated train journeys from Milford to Cooperstown, enjoy seasonal treats and the beautiful light displays. The Easter Bunny Express runs in March!
The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, honoring the greatest stars and history of the game, is an American treasure and a must-see destination. Kids love the Sandlot Clubhouse with interactives, Curious George and Garfield fun, photographs with Hall of Famers, and artifacts hidden in knotholes and drawers.
Take in the small town charm as you stroll along shop-lined Main Street. Get breakfast all day or a jumbo burger at the tiny classic Cooperstown Diner or try a moon pie at Schneider's Bakery. Dine in style at the Hawkeye Bar & Grill at the Otesaga Resort. You'll soon understand why this magical place is called America's Most Perfect Village.
Seasonal events include Cooperstown's Winter Carnival in February, with cool activities, a grand parade and fireworks.
Experience 19th-century village life at The Farmers' Museum, where festive events like the magical Candlelight Evening provide a taste of how the holidays were celebrated in 1845.
Tasteful stops along the Cooperstown Beverage Trail include the Fly Creek Cider Mill, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown Brewing Company, Butternuts Beer & Ale and two award-winning wineries: Bear Pond and Rustic Ridge.
Just outside the village, Glimmerglass State Park is ideal for winter sports. Choose from snowtubing, ice-skating and ice-fishing as well as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling on picturesque woodland trails.
Val Bialas, a city-owned ski center, offers a unique opportunity to ski and snowboard within city limits. There are five downhill trails, night skiing, and a new ski chalet.
Nearby, rent snowshoes and follow groomed trails to see the Utica Zoo in a whole new way during the winter season! Visit the bears, sea lions, gibbons, snow leopards, tigers and many other species.
Tours of historic Saranac Brewery finish with tasting fine-crafted beers and sodas in their 1888 tavern.
For family fun, board the Polar Express at the Adirondack Scenic Railroad's Union Station, weekends from November 16 to December 22.
See concerts, theater and dance at the historic Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, as well as works by great American artists from Thomas Cole to Winslow Homer.
F. Alder Creek
Stay and play at the charming Alder Creek Country Inn, in New York's Snow Belt. Cross-country ski and snowshoe trails wind through the estate. Snowmobilers can zip right from the Inn to Old Forge and some of the best trails of the Tug Hill Plateau.
Woods Valley ski area has skiing and riding on three terrain parks and 14 trails ranging from easy to black diamond. There's a brand-new Snowtubing Park, state-of-the-art snowmaking, and lighting for night skiing, riding and tubing. Warm up in the cozy lodge!
Cross-country skiers and snowmobilers find easy gliding at Osceola Tug Hill in the Snowbelt east of Lake Ontario. Lake-effect snow covers the Tug Hill Plateau with an annual average of over 200 inches!
Along with exciting gaming and dining, Turning Stone Resort & Casino presents a season of classic headline entertainment, from Frankie Valli to John Pinette. Lodging options range from modest to posh, and the world-class spa draws upon American Indian cultural themes.
At the Boxing Hall of Fame, you can see the crown jewels of boxing's royalty, from World Championship belts to trunks, shoes and robes from dozens of legends from Joe Louis to Rocky Graziano and Sugar Ray Leonard. The event pavilion features the famous Madison Square Garden ring where the "Fight of the Century" took place between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971.
For more ideas and information, see Central New York Regional Tourism Website